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From the picture below are you able to tell if the original ceiling paint which is now peeling off had a primer, specifically a shellac primer, was it just a normal paint or no way to tell either way?

I plan to paint (emulsion) it or shellac then paint it. Could I also paint then shellac over the paint then optionally paint again or can shellac not be applied on top of a breathable emulsion paint?

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    Is the reason for knowing what was on there previously so you can replicate it, if not then why do you need to know? Shellac or shellac primers create an impermeable seal, this would defeat the breath-ability of a breathable paint. Why do you want to use a breathable paint? What is the ceiling made of? – Alaska Man Jan 26 at 17:40
  • @alaska man from another post same photo, Plaster and the op is sensitive to orders. There is no way to know what the original paint was. I doubt it was a shellac based primer as that would have sealed and not had the pealing problem that is visible. Probably a latex put on without any kind of primer to bond well to the plaster. – Ed Beal Jan 26 at 20:16
  • @Alaska Man I don’t need to use a breathable paint but the paint i had in mind was a ‘0 voc breathable emulsion’ paint and like Ed mentioned I’m quite sensitive to products so need to pick carefully. The plaster didn’t affect me from what was there previously so an emulsion paint, if that’s what was there, may reduce enough otherwise I may have to shellac if that’s what was there. Thanks. – James Wilson Jan 26 at 22:06

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